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Bishop suggests occupied Palestinian territory could become part of Third World

The Bishop of Bath and Wells has called for international pressure on Israel to withdraw troops from occupied Palestinian territory suggesting that it could soon become part of the Third World.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells has called for international pressure on Israel to withdraw troops from occupied Palestinian territory suggesting that it could soon become part of the Third World.

The Rt Rev Peter Price warned that Palestinian areas had to be given significant financial support to enable rebuilding and economic regeneration.

He was speaking on his return from a fact-finding tour of the Holy Land as part of a six-person Christian Aid delegation.

The aid agency recently suggested that Israel should dismantle settlements, lift closures and ease restrictions on movement of Palestinians and goods.

This is not the first visit that the bishop has made to Israel. Six years ago, Peter Price accompanied Ekklesia’s director Jonathan Bartley, members of the House of Lords and clergy on a trip to the Middle East, during which they met the then Israeli President Ezer Weizman.

During the most recent visit, the delegation met representatives of the Israeli government and members of the Palestinian Authority, and witnessed the building by Israel of the 8m high barrier which many in the international community regard as illegal.

Giving a cautious welcome to progress on peace negotiations, the bishop said: “Unless the occupation by Israel is ended and mutuality achieved in the sharing of borders, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will continue to be effectively controlled by Israel.

“Such a situation will leave Palestine in the Third World, alongside the affluence of the First World state of Israel. This will not lead to lasting peace.

“The pressure currently being exerted by the Americans on Syria needs equally to be exerted upon Israel to enable a withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers.

“The international community needs to be encouraged to offer significant financial and economic support to enable the rebuilding of the two areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.”

During visits to medical centres in the West Bank on the latest visit, the delegation was made aware of the primary health programme being made available to all Palestinians, but it was also shown how the impact of the barrier had made travel to hospital in the West Bank more difficult.

The delegates listened to evidence of premature deaths and births at impromptu checkpoints.

The group visited refugee camps during its visit to Gaza, and delegates saw for themselves the impact of housing demolition and the destruction of clinics, schools and agricultural projects.

The group also saw projects for traumatised children and young people in Gaza, and healthcare and educational programmes for school-leavers.

Talks were also held with Israeli and Palestinian groups monitoring human rights violations in the occupied territories.

Such groups were recently praised for their work by former US President Jimmy Carter.

2016-10-24T07:30:51+00:00 March 15th, 2005|Categories: News|